Vinicius doubles in nail-biter, but Real Madrid, Levante end in 3-3 draw
Valencia, Spain, Aug 22 (EFE).- Levante and Real Madrid battled to a 3-3 draw in a nail-biting match, especially in the second half when both teams could have won at Ciutat stadium in Valencia and Vezo was brought in in the 87th minute for the hosts after Aitor Fernandez was expelled.
Vinicius was the bright star of the contest scoring two goals, including the one in the closing minutes that snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat for the then-behind capital squad.
The match got under way before some 10,000 fans with a tally for Madrid from Gareth Bale just five minutes into play after a nice play by Alaba and Benzema, who passed to the Welshman for the sinker, his first Madrid goal in two years.
But there was little rhythm shown by either squad with Madrid merely trying to protect its lead after Bale found the twine and Levante manufacturing little in the way of a threat.
With lots of back and forth at center field and virtually no drive toward the opposing teams’ goals, play seemed to settle down into a desultory semi-dynamic until about the half-hour mark, when the capital boys suddenly seemed to come to life, more or less, although the score was still at 0-1 at the break.
However, Levante came out after the intermission and scored twice, the first time when Roger made it work just 28 seconds into second-half play and the second time 11 minutes later on a shot by Campaña.
With Levante suddenly in the lead, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti made three replacements, bringing in Vinicius, Rodrygo and Asensio for Bale, Hazard and Isco, the latter two of whom had been non-entities in the play so far anyway.
Levante was enthused by its goals, however, and showed considerably more confidence and verve, but Madrid also got fired up and after the halfway mark in the second period play started drifting down close to the home goal, defended by Aitor Fernandez.
Vinicius evened things up at 2-2 on a pass from Casimeiro in the 73rd minute, but five minutes later it was Rober Pier who again put Levante in the lead with a shot from point-blank range after David Alaba headed the ball close in after a Levante free kick.
Then, Vinicius managed to sink another one for the 3-3 in the 85th minute, but it wasn’t over yet as Cantero sent a shot into the Real Madrid post and Fernandez was booted for handing outside the area as the capital men counterattacked.
But despite the late action, the score remained at 3-3.
Levante: Aitor Fernandez, Miramon, Vezo, Rober Pier, Clerc, Radoja, De Frutos (Franquesa, m.86), Melero (Pablo Martinez, m.66), Campaña (Bardhi, m.77), Roger (Malsa, m.66) and Morales (Cantero, m.77)
Real Madrid: Courtois, Lucas Vazquez (Carvajal, m.64), Militao, Nacho, Alaba, Valverde (Jovic, m.82), Casemiro, Hazard (Rodrygo, m.58), Isco (Asensio, m.58), Bale (Vinicius, m.58) and Benzema.